Congratulations. You have chosen or are considering to choose a trip to South Australia’s awesome Limestone Coast. Either that or you are just reading to hopefully hear some delightful stories of kids having a battle royale during a family road trip. Whatever your reason, stick around as we have you covered.
If you haven’t heard of the Limestone Coast, it is South of Adelaide as you head towards Mount Gambier, or for our Mount Gambian friends, it will be to the north. It is a diverse region which for the fam bam, will have something for everyone. From rugged (I got that word from a sign at Robe and I just can’t stop saying it) coastline, great wineries and restaurants, onto world famous geological sites (probably should have just said caves but just wanted to use my big words). Whatever your passion then you will find it during this trip.
Located a bit over 3 hours from Adelaide by car, probably a nudge under 3 days if you walk, it is also basically right on our doorstep. We chose to travel along the beautiful Coorong coastline on the way down, then back home along the SA/Victorian border. Which ever way you choose, we strongly suggest you plan your route to see as much of this fabulous area as you can.
Here is how we spent our whirlwind 48 hours
Leaving Adelaide we were headed for Robe first up, so decided to head along the Coorong and explore some of the coastal scenery and towns along the way. Take your time to stop at the little lookouts as you drive past the Coorong, you won’t regret it. The water seems to be about a metre from the road some of the time, so the views are fairly spectacular.
Playground Alert – By the time you reach Meningie, a couple of hours into your trip if you are leaving Adelaide, the kids will be either right at the tipping point to feralness or well and truly over the abyss and doing your head in. Fortunately we found a cracker of a playground at Meningie (next to Bakeries for those like me who love a donut) and with great views of the Coorong. A nautically (probably not a word but running with it) themed park with boats to play on and a bunch of really cool updated equipment (plus outdoor gym equipment to work off your donut….not that I did that) your kids will be able to run off all their pent up energy for the remainder of the trip.
Giant Lobster Alert – I mean a giant lobster is enough of an alert as it is I guess, but stopping at the Giant Lobster at Kingston South East is obviously a given. It would be un-Australian not to. The younger kids will love getting out and going up close, the older kids just waited in the car because they are apparently too cool for giant lobsters. Their loss.
But while in Kingston, a little gem we found was a little coffee and homewares place called ‘Bliss’. Now for a lot of you, I probably had you at ‘coffee and homewares’ but this was actually pretty cool, even for a dude whose love of homewares is second to his love of the dentist. The coffee was probably our pick of the trip and we got a couple of great things from the shop. After a decent amount of driving it is nice to break things up with little stops like this. Check it out! If playgrounds are more your thing – there’s this lovely playground at Kingston too 🙂
Hitting Robe next we have to recommend taking a bit of time exploring the famous holiday favourite. With the aforementioned rugged coastline, great restaurants, fantastic views and a thriving main street of little shops, it is a fantastic place to stop after a big drive.
We saw some photos of Tempest before we arrived so expectations were high. What we didn’t expect was to be absolutely blown away by this brilliant place. It was so good, that one of my kids refused to leave. She will now greet future guests on their arrival.
We wrote a whole write up of this beauty so make sure you have a read and check out the views from the lounge room!
The Project at Robe is hands down our best pick for eating out at Robe. They are open breakfast til dinner too. We had asked some friends familiar with the area where we should go and they had all suggested The Project. It is not hard to see why!
This has the family well and truly covered, so much so that we almost went back for breakfast! Safe to say dinner was superb and have a read of our full report on probably the best pizza in the region (link above).
We honestly had an incredible night at Tempest, so much so that it was quite sad to leave. It was a great start to the trip but it was exciting to see what else we could find. Sadly for Miss 14, her days of sleeping solo in a king sized bed were over and we had to drag her out of the house so we could leave.
Again taking on some advice from those in the know, we headed off to Adventurous Spoon for breakfast. I am a huge brunch fan (to be fair I do enjoy food at any time of the day, but you know what I mean) so I was keen to test this place out. Suffice to say we were not disappointed at all. The setting is just lovely, with indoor and outdoor seating (nicely heated and protected from the fairly brisk Saturday morning we had…by brisk I mean it was so cold I saw a polar bear walking down main street carrying a penguin on his back) and the food was top notch.
We struck gold with our food choices at Robe and you won’t go wrong if you copy these options. If you’re after a playground in Robe check this one out.
Leaving Robe we then headed towards Naracoorte, about an hours drive away, an hour and a half if you miss your turn off like I did and just keep heading towards Mount Gambier. Probably the biggest town in the region, which I assume because it had a McDonalds and a Hungry Jacks.
Check out my bigger write up about the world famous caves at Naracoorte, but if the giant lobster was a must do, then this is a must must do. A mega must do. From people who hate tight spaces to people who want to squeeze into tight spaces, they seriously have a cave experience that everyone will enjoy. You don’t have to be a geologist to enjoy the incredible cave structures and colours, and even for tall people like me you won’t have an issue with space of knocking your head on things.
They have done an incredible job establishing a national park with world standard facilities and it is right on our door-step!
While you are there, after your cave experience check out the brand new fossil adventure playground that is right next to the visitors centre. One of the best playgrounds you will come across and the kids will have a ball! Check out the photos and I am sure you won’t disagree.
Your Limestone trip can’t all be about the kids right? Well about half an hour drive from Naracoorte you will drive past beautiful winery after winery as you head towards Penola. The whole strip on the Ridoch Highway is a bit of a tourist destination on its own, but we chose to spend our arvo at Balnaves at Coonawarra. The reason? Good wines, fantastic cellar door, dedicated kids snack boxes (and not nuggets and chips I might add) and a huge grassed area with kids games/sports to boot! What else would you want.
With a bunch of accommodation options in the area, from camping to holiday cabins, it is a tough choice to find a good one. But it is hard to go past the Naracoorte Holiday Park. Centrally located in the region, it is a great spot to head out on your daily adventures. What we loved though was the really cool kids activities and modern cabins. From mini golf, mini trains, arcade/games room, jumping pillows and a humungous (yep it’s a word) pool (more of a lake), the kids will love it! Have a look at our feature on the park for more deets.
Our last day before driving home and we chose to do a bit of exploring and find something a bit new. So we drove to a small town called Frances, which is right on the Victorian border in between Bordertown and Naracoorte. It is one of those small towns you drive through and may not give a second thought to stopping at, but hear us out.
Frances Strawberry Farm is definitely worth the effort. A family run farm, this not only has a fantastic café serving delicious brunch fare (try the poached eggs, smashed avo and halloumi…you can thank me later), but you can also pick your own strawberries on or explore the working farm. For more on this cracker, check out the full write up.
For the drive home, we had a few punnets of strawberries of driving snacks and just like that our Limestone adventure was over.
Can’t wait to go back and we might see some of you there!